Tuesday, November 29, 2011

For Olivia...A Chic Shower

Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending a unique shower in honor of the baby of my friends Trena and Warren Smith.  Warren had wanted to be surprised about the gender of the baby at the event, revealed by the inside color of cake.  They already have two handsome boys and had excitedly hoped for, well, in dad's words, "That cake better be pink.  I put a girl in the oven!"  It was so fun to see his reaction and announcement that her name would be Olivia.  Sweet name.

What a feast for all the senses!  The hotel banquet room was decked out in green, yellow, and brown.  Centerpieces, of which I should have taken pics, were lovely sunflowers in vases wrapped with large brown and green ribbons.  Relaxing music of Michael Buble and the like played for our enjoyment.  The menu was the most elaborate for a baby shower:  crab spread, spinach dip, chicken wings, tossed salad, pasta salad, baked spaghetti with shrimp, chicken alfredo, lasagna, chocolate fountain, fruit, a few kinds of desserts (including one of the yummiest cupcakes I've ever tasted), champagne, and tea punch!!!

As my gift, I made some art for Baby Olivia's room.  My next post will be info on how to do it yourself.

Trena and Warren, I pray for a continued blessed marriage, pregnancy, and family.  We can't wait to meet you, Olivia!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thompson Thanksgiving

This year, I am thankful to not be hosting the family Thanksgiving.  It is on my list of things to eventually conquer.  As the mom of two young kids, I have sooooo much to be thankful for.  But, so often I get overwhelmed with a capital "O" at my  inability to get things accomplished, especially tasks that used to only take minutes or seconds.  So, having a day or month to celebrate what is going right, and thanking God for it, is needed.

I made squash and green bean casseroles to contribute to the family potluck.  Then, we arrived at my in-laws for pre-dinner fun.  My mother-in-law, Angela, suprised my son, Dash, with a fun, edible project.  They made turkeys from oreos and candy.  To make your own, check this out:  http://beurrista.blogspot.com/2011/11/thanksgiving-oreo-turkeys.html

Thanks to Aunt Wendy for Ivy's turkey jumper.  Cutest gobbler ever.
Moving on from the grandparents, we went to Aunt Tina and Uncle Ivan's for the big turkey dinner.  Here is some of the extended family.  Hoping someone sends me an email with the pic of the whole family.  In this pic, I like the low centerpiece, so we could see and talk to each other.

We were suprised with a little birthday party ambush for Ivy by our beloved matriarch Mema.  Ivy's a couple of weeks from turning one.  It went something like this, "I brought cupcakes and gifts.  We're having a party."  So, we rolled with it.  Ivy enjoyed ALL of thanksgiving food, including the cupcake.
Even though I miss the Joneses terribly (my North Georgia family), the Thompsons had a great Thanksgiving.  And here's one more thing to be thankful for:  four people who love each other with genuine smiles and eyes open, who had a photo taken.  You other moms know what a feat this is. : )

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Savvy Chic Laundry

If you ever get tired of waiting on your dryer to finish the load, or if you'd rather spend your money on things other than fabric softener and dryer sheets, this post is for you.  The project is worth the little effort required.  Cloth diapering mamas, you shouldn't live without these! 

A few months ago, my sweet Mom and I read an online tutorial and made wool dryer balls.  There is more than one way to skin a cat, and also to make dryer balls.  We used this site as our guide: http://ecofriendlyhomemaking.com/2011/02/tutorial-on-how-to-make-wool-dryer-balls/.  I highly recommend this tutorial and that you read it before continuing on this post. 

Mom and I found a large piece of wool at her house.  We fleeced it according to the instructions and got started.  I'm going to confess now where I went wrong.  In the beginning, I used pinking shears (scissors with the zigzag cut used to keep fabric from fraying) to cut the strips.  It was really NOT necessary, and it kills the hands.  Regular scissors came to the rescue.  Then, I rolled and stitched the fabric strips into a ball.  It was more time consuming than I anticipated.  I make no bones about the fact that I love crafts...with instant gratification.  Here is what it looked like:
Mother knows best, though.  She cleverly got the idea to just wind the strips and make two large stitches from one side to the other.  To be clearer, there were knots at north, south, east, and west...  It looked kind of like a rosette.  This was savvy genius!  She was making them so quickly.  In the laundry, they work equally well.

How well do they work?  Wool is magic.  Clothes are sooo nicely fluffed.  The best part is drying time has been shaved by at least ten minutes per load!  I don't think I'll ever go back to dryer sheets.  The question I sometimes get is, "How is the static?"  They don't eliminate all static, but it's minimal.  I might find a dryer ball or two clinging to some gym shorts (or other ultra-synthetics).  Hope that someone else gets use from these.  Blessings!

You might also like my laundry detergent mixture:  http://misssavvychic.blogspot.com/2011/11/laundry-detergent-mixture.html

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Second Best Way to Spend a Dollar

Preface:  Admittedly, this post is going to provide as evidence to my attention deficiency.

So, the best way to spend a dollar is to give it away (fond of www.guyana-missions.org).  On to my topic du jour, though.  And, I hate to give away free advertising, but I couldn't keep this little jewel to myself, found at the Dollar Tree:

Is this the healthiest munchy out there?  No, but let me be clear.  Unless my life depends on it (in the immediate sense, not the "this stuff will slowly kill you over several years" way), I will NOT remove all refined sugar from my diet.  The somewhat health conscious can get excited that this stuff is tasty and only $1!  Try it, and let me know what you think.

Have you tried the oatmeal from the world's most popular fast food chain?  It's yummy, no?  Even for people who don't do oatmeal.  Here's an attempt at trying to make it a bit healthier from home:
It's a combo of prepared plain instant oatmeal, apple sauce, a heap of cinnamon, honey, apple bits, and raisins.  Blog post coming soon:  "How To Refinish a Hideous Tile Tabletop."  Blessings!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Third Life

So far, my living room tables have had three lives: once with their first owner, another with me for the past two years, and its current life after a much needed makeover.  They are sassier now; you can just tell.

Sometimes, you have to have the willpower of a steam engine to get anything done.  My table makeovers may have not required a penchant for creativity, but I made up for it with stubborn determination.  What do you do with a three-year-old and a not-quite-one-year-old when you've gotta get the job done?  You let the big one ride his bike and big wheel in front of the house, and alternate the baby between the pack 'n' play and the walker.  They were actually great companions.
You can see from the background of my picture that while prepping for paint, "someone" came to do yard work (and also blow bits of grass and leaves everywhere).  Gotta laugh.

I kept the bottoms a slightly metallic gray.  They were showing some wear.  Rather than try to make them look new (I love the color), I decided to later distress the tops.  Let's be honest; in my house they're going to end up in distress anyway.  Center glass was removed.    And that brings up my only misgivings about painting these pieces...  How would they look with light wood when the glass is a smoked color?  But, I press on anyway.
After one coat of primer and three coats of ivory spray paint ($12 total, thank you, Hobby Lobby clearance), I brought them in for a bit of sanding to age a bit.  And, WOW, these tables were MEANT to be light all along.  Thanks to my friend Laura Goins (http://www.lauragoins.blogspot.com/), for giving me encouragement that it would, in fact, look good in the end.  I love them.

And, speaking of having the willpower of a steam engine, I'd like to say thanks to my hubby.  He, while pressure washing outside the house, didn't let a little broken chain get in the way of finishing the job. Nice work!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Laundry Detergent Mixture

Friends are asking...so here it is!  The "recipe" and a couple of ideas.  I have been mixing my own detergent cocktail for several months now, and it works really well.  Why bother? I do LOTS of laundry, at least in my opinion.  Multiple loads a day.  This is an effective, easy way to save considerable money.  I'll warn you, this is just one gal's ratio.  If this one doesn't knock your socks off, surf the web for others.  Do what works for YOU.You can find all of these items on the laundry isle.  While they're not difficult to find, you may not see them in every store. 

Measure and pour into a container:
one part Borax
one part Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (NOT the same as baking soda)
one part of your favorite powder laundry detergent
Mix powder until thoroughly blended.

For washing, follow your laundry labels for water temp.  Start the water, pour in 2 tablespoons of the mixture, let a little more water run, throw in your washables.

Fun Variation:  You can substitute shavings of your favorite bar soap in place of powder laundry detergent.

GIFT IDEA:  If you know someone has a favorite soap, use it to customize some laundry detergent for them.  You could add a label, like "Susan's Luxe Lavender Laundry," or "Hero Wash" for the guys (being sure the scent and container have masculine appeal).  Put the mixture in an attractive container with washing instructions.  You might try placing a plastic bag inside a nice basket and fill with the detergent mixture.  Then, tie the bag with ribbon at the top, adding a little scoop to the bow.  While you're at it, put your own mixture in a cute container.  You're worth it, too!

Troubleshooting:  For added stain fighting, add some oxygen cleaning product to your mix.  If your water is too cold to dissolve powder, start the load with hot water while you pour in the detergent mixture.  Once it dissolves, switch it over to cold if that is the preferred setting.

Hope this works as well for your family as it does for mine.  Blessings!

Friday, November 11, 2011

You Know What's Cool?

Wow, I am sure I need a more current adjective than "cool," but I'm getting older and can't bring myself to say "sick," or whatever the young folks are throwing around these days.  Anyway, with my new love of Pinterest and continuing appreciation of blogs, it strikes me how individualized fashion and decor are becoming.  Although the major fashion houses and designers will always influence, personal style is really becoming just that...personal.  I am amazed by the amount of talent in the world, that unlike in previous times, is on display for appreciation, admiration, inspiration, and imitation.

On another note, with cold weather ensuing, it's a great time to shop your own closet for new personal style.  Spend a few minutes layering clothes that you have never before grouped.  I had fun putting this together Clearly I'm not a model, nor my husband a photographer, but you get it, right?
I hesitate to tell you how cheap, er thrifty, this look was.  I am rarely a proper label wearer.  Boots from Walmart, $20; dress from Burlington Coat Factory, $13; t-shirt from Walmart, $3; headband from (yes) Winn Dixie, 3 for $5 (give or take). $41 total.  Blessings!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

When Skin Gets Tough...

...the tough, get glowing! Cold weather and the indoor heat with which we combat it, can wreak havoc on the ol' epidermis.  Here are two of my favorite tips on the topic:

For body moisture, I have become addicted to coconut oil.  Not, Hawaiian Tropic, bikini-bronzing coconut oil.  It's the organic, cold-pressed stuff that works wonders.  You're probably thinking it's weird to smell like a coconut in the middle of winter, and you'd be right.  What most of us are used to is a summer tanning oil, which has a lot of additional fragrance added.  The real thing is barely (if at all) detectable.  For fragrance junkies, you could add a few drops of essential oil or perfume.  A little oil goes a long way.  Skin looks glowing and feels great.  Coconut oil is easily absorbed and has anti-bacterial  and anti-fungal properties. I could wax poetic about the stuff all day, but don't take my word for it.  Time to try it for yourself and let me know if you agree.  Find it at local health food stores.  Side note for moms, it's great for use on mild diaper rash and won't harm cloth diapers.

Secondly, in cold weather especially, my scalp hates me.  It gets itchy, flaky, and just plain aggravating.  While pregnant, I didn't want to use products with active ingredients that might transfer to the baby.  I began a new practice of washing my hair in reverse, conditioning first.  With locks wet, I slather it all over the scalp.  Then, I go ahead and do all my other shower business.  At the end, I shampoo.  If needed you can recondition the ends a bit.  It works so well, anti-flake shampoos can't compare.  If the scalp needs a little extra TLC, before showering I rub on some coconut oil and leave for a few minutes.  Wishing all of us calm, happy skin for the months ahead.

And now, a public service announcement.  It seems that everywhere one turns these days, there is mention of "the smokey eye."  Fabulous in concept and  practice, the smokey eye is smoldering.  Usually it's done with smudged shades of gray or brown (you know, the colors of actual smoke).  But, the term smokey eye is now being thrown around for ANY eye with contouring shadow.  Pastels and brights look great when smudged as well.  Call these eyes "dazzling" or "embellished."  But they are NOT a smokey eye. Even eyes with no hint of smudge have been labeled as such!  OK, off the soap box, that is all.  Blessings!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


For people like me, who sometimes like to be lazy cooks, this dinner is for you!  If you're a snob about using crockpots or condensed soup, close the browser.  I'll be back soon with a different post.

I don't remember where I first saw this recipe, but I have altered it a few times since.  Let's call it...
"Lazy Chicken Dinner"
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup white cooking wine
Italian seasoning, to taste (I use around a tablespoon)
Goya chicken seasoning, to taste (about a teaspoon)
3 boneless chicken breasts cut into thirds, or a package of tenders

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lay chicken in a 9 x 11-ish dish.  Mix first four ingredients.  Pour mixture over chicken.  Cover and bake for an hour.  It makes a nice sauce.  Serve with rice, and ladle the sauce on top.  Also makes a great slow-cooker dinner; cook on low.

My three-year-old begged for seconds!  Well, with all that "labor-intense prep," I still had energy to play after cooking.  Blessings!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Rocked My Socks Off

What a time!  My husband and I went to the Jacksonville Fair last night to see one of my favorite bands, Little Big Town.  The peeps sitting near me may have been hating it because I sang my heart out too.  LBT's music resonates with me like no other, especially because of their amazing co-ed harmonies.  The guys are handsome and talented, but the ladies really shined.  Serious girl power.

In addition to their wonderful sounds, I wanted to see how the ladies brought the style.  Brunette Karen Fairchild (right) donned the new classic skinny red pant, black top, and killer black fringe vest.  Platinum blonde Kimberly Schlapman has some bigger-than-Texas hair.  Maybe it was the Florida humidity.  Cute, though.  She showcased her ultra feminine tastes with skinny black pants and a black sequined shirt, topped with a small taupe leather jacket.  Schlapman worked the stage in six-inch heeled black booties.
In addition to their hits Boondocks, Little White Church, Bring it on Home, and others, they performed a rockin' countrified cover of Maroon 5's Moves Like Jagger!  Check it out: 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Planning Presents in the Present

The holidays are almost upon us again. You, Miss Savvy Chic, are not waiting until the day after Thanksgiving to shop. We would get some good deals then, sure. But, this year, let's all resolve to not spend money or energy frivolously. Here's the plan... Grab a notebook or smartphone writing pad. TODAY decide for whom you are going to buy gifts and what your overall gift budget is (and we're writing...). Then, determine how much you will spend on each person. It's nice to know the average amount per person, and use that as a starting point for decision making.

Next, brainstorm what each person might want or need. Write it down, even if you settle on something else. Go ahead now and use that barcode scanner app on your phone for the items you'd like to purchase. When you find a deal, BUY IT NOW. Save yourself drama from the Christmas crazies, who will not think twice of fighting you over a box of matches at 3:00am.  I am one of those people who has to either become a crazy and win that battle, or avoid the battleground altogether. Usually...the latter.

Resourcefulness is next to godliness.  Don't rule out second-hand "one-person's-trash." Ok, I am NOT saying it would be chic to try to pass off a thrift store find as new. Look for items you could artistically alter to suit the recipient's taste. Maybe you find an interesting pair of candlestick holders. For your mod friend, spray paint them with a brushed steel type medium or chrome. For more cottage-y tastes, paint a color complimenting their decor and possibly distress. It's good, then, to be forthcoming about the gift's origins. It is unique and has its own story. And character. Remember that renovating and repurposing are environmentally responsible.  More to come on what's being given from our house. Blessings!

Team Fashion

Hey, Savvy Chic sports fans, what do you wear to big game events? You don't have to wear official logos to get in the spirit. Consider what you already have (which feature your team's colors) that may be stunning.

For those living in colder climates, your choices must center around warmth. I love to see a beanie with long hair flowing from underneath, or a muff headband with hair pulled back and cute button earrings.

For those with eccentric tastes, bring on fun jewelry like a cocktail ring. Resourcefulness is close to godliness.  I made this flower pin/barrette from materials in my craft box. Simply pinch the center as you loop petals back and forth. Sew the center like a button. Glue a gem on the front and pin or barrette on back. Wear on the lapel, the beanie, or in the hair.

Best overall look: For most climates, layering is a good idea. A pair of jeans, white button down shirt, and a sweater draped over the shoulders always looks sharp.

When bargain shopping, think a little outside the box.  Try a necklace featuring your team's initial. I picked up this "G" pendant from Guess that would work well for a Georgia, Georgetown, or Green Bay fan.
Good luck to your team (unless they're opposing mine). Blessings!